I am an artist…


Hi. My name is Andrew and I am an artist.  I’m not a full time artist and I’m not making a living selling my art or my artistic talents. But if you think that means I am NOT an artist you can suck my left nu — thing is more harsh than noontime light.

I sit at my day job every day trying to focus on what’s in front of me until…

Look at the texture in that ceiling tile, it looks like the craters on the moon. Pull it down, plastic spoons for dwellings in a moon colony, drop a black cloth against the background and glitter falling with high speed flash at obtuse angles, and poof! Futuristic moon colony…

“And can you make sure the LT-A changes are made to the JVMs, you know the ones, -Xms, -Xmx…”

Wait, what?

I was doing really well this week. It has been 5 days since the island incident. I was artistic all over the place, ignoring those around me, or worse yet, forcing them to take part in my art. I returned to work though, and… she’s wearing a bright red dress, curls down her back, with heels up to here and about the pass that HUGE BLUE WALL!!! HOLY CRAP, WHERE’S MY CAMERA?

“But policy states that concentration limits can be used to set limits against entities other than the ultimate parent which will need to be accounted for in design.”

Of course.

Being an artist is like being an addict except what you’re addicted to can’t be purchased on street corners in that shady neighborhood or from that guy in that alley. Wouldn’t that make a great shot? “Hey buddy, wanna buy some art?”

Dressed in saggy jeans and a NY Yankees jersey with dark sunglasses, the light from the street lamp is harsh but reflected in the puddles just barely light his face, the surroundings reflected in his dark sunglasses. He clutches a sack filled with canvas, sculptures, and a few rolled photos. Blue, red and green flashes burst randomly against the walls, with cracked bogos throwing shadows everywhere.

You can’t turn it off. You can’t turn it on. It just happens.

When I was younger I made a decision, one my father strongly encouraged, to get an education in something that could provide three squares, and roof over my head. I would allow time to follow my passion when there was time. It made logical sense and was hard to argue and I do not regret the choice I made. Only a little. But am I not an artist because of that decision?

A big red boxing glove slams into a perfectly carved set of abs spraying sweat in every direction. Strong direct backlighting, with a hint of flash from the front coloring the spray in golden tones, you can feel the impact, the color explodes, his trunks match the red of the glove, deep contrast.  But I suck. No one cares about my work. I WANT TO SCREAM!!!!!

I push through the turnstile heading down the stairs into 95 degrees with 99% humidity. My shirt sticks to me, another casualty begging for the dry cleaners. It would rain in this station if it could. Sweat pours down everyone around me and my mind is a traffic accident, smashed by a practical Ford Fiesta and a fire engine red 59 Chevy Corvette. Crushed between the two rather than riding in either one comfortably. Look at her hair, in a field of wildflowers, with the sun behind her metered for her face, big silver reflector splashing the light playfully back into her eyes, shallow dof. Hurumph… like I have the guts to ask her to model for me. sigh.

Sleep.

Wake.

Gym.

I push through the turnstile heading down the stairs into 95 degrees and 99% humidity. My shirt sticks to me, another casualty begging for the dry cleaners. It would rain in this station if it could. Sweat pours down everyone around me. Is it safe? The yellow dress walks down the stairs towards me, in great need of better make-up, more volume in the hair, leaning against that mural I found in Wellington Court… you remember the one, with pastel colors, direct sun, big sun glasses, breeze blowing the dress up into an upside down tulip held down by one hand while the other holds onto the great floppy sun hat, espadrilles?

Damn. Missed my stop.

In my heart I know I made the right decision. I can go on vacation and I have good medical benefits. My soul? Sometimes, just sometimes, my soul hits me right in the face. WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?  I explode. Look at those shoes, with the crystals…red soles, but wrong light. What were they thinking?  These should be next to these little numbers with the wavy mesh heel and the complementary colors…and on that white marble table over there with soft, even, but strong white light…

“But now that we’re in production what should we do with the defects we find? Our exposure numbers don’t seem to be coming through correctly, but is that a source system issue or a calculation issue on our end… just fix it.”

My wife knows I’m quirky… not the flinging myself off the Tobin Bridge kind of quirky, but quirky. Drifting away sometimes, maybe even making her feel a little like she isn’t there when it hits me. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. No. Not a drug. It’s more like a disease, that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Or an unrequited love that you beg to see you in that way… come back, just this once…for one instant. Her body reaching out over a railing parallel to the floor, laying beneath with two softboxes shot straight up on either side of hair flowing down towards the lens. Give me that look of finally finding what you’ve been searching for all of these years, you know the one. Simple t-shirt, white, very light weight, one that feels see through’ish and lets the light dance around inside but fitted, just not too much so, need room but shape. One more, give me that look like you just woke up next to the one you were meant to be with forever… that’s it.

“Can you get in touch with credit and risk to determine their needs for the upcoming release, or at least have them prioritize their enhancement requests, but don’t let them get too greedy with the asks.”

Lunch.

I am Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hyde at work, most of the time. Jekyll is released when he wishes, demanding attention, clawing at my insides begging to be freed, but sleeping or ignoring me when I need him most.  Am I an artist? Do all artists struggle in this way?

Veggie combination plate with tomato eggplant and… That look! No, not that one, yes, hold it! Black button down shirt opened three buttons, just a hint, a tease, light falling off from face to waste, but background is black, no reflections, black bowler tipped down just shy of that look, YES THAT ONE!

Do you ever feel like if you don’t create you will explode? You can’t resist a scene unfolding in the street…you MUST STOP…Walking for hours without any knowledge of the passing of time except for the darkness that suddenly surrounds you when you know it was light just a few minutes ago… You’re so selfish. But you’re not. You just get lost in your insides, in your thoughts, in your creation, in your Jekyll…

You are an artist.

My wife meets me on the C to head home. I have a very good life. I am happy. I am content. I am torn. I am tortured, but only sometimes. She looks so beautiful in this light. She smiles at me. I kiss her and hold her and can’t imagine anywhere else I would rather be than in her arms at this moment.

“Stand clear of the closing doors”.

He walks by with deep blue hair falling this way and that, a suit tailored just right, now pick up your chin just a bit, tilt your head like this, silver handle cane with some kind of animal handle, Grand Central at rush hour, strong clam shell lighting with other people surrounding but not obscuring just outside of the light, intense burst of backlight throwing human shadows skyward, blue hair walking towards camera with purpose, looking right into the lens with those intense eyes.

Click.

Hi. My name is Andrew and I am an artist.

— Andrew Ashley

Andrew Ashley Photography on Facebook

Check out Andrew’s feature on the 21st Precinct Art Exhibit in NYC

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